Midlands outdoor sportsmen serve up field's and pond's bounty-safely and tastily
(L to R) Mindy Lucas, Max Conrad and David Lucas enjoy Squirrel Perlo and Mustard Fried Venison Chunks.
Photography by Bob Lancaster
With spring at its peak, local hunters have wild turkey on their minds — it’s in season, hallelujah! Whether aficionados dream of it deep-fried or made into pie or soup, wild turkey is tempting hunters into the woods to bag what is surely one of the most delicious of game animals.
Of course, wild turkey is by no means the only game to consider for a delicious game menu in the springtime. Midlands outdoor sportsmen have the chance to harvest deer, dove, duck, goose, squirrel, catfish, striped bass, coldwater trout, crappie and bream, each in its own season, and a good freezer can enable them to defy the off-season and cook their favorite game any time of year. David Lucas, editor of South Carolina Wildlife, thoroughly understands the draw of field and pond on the outdoor sportsman’s heart. From a lifetime of hunting and fishing experience, he shares insights with Columbia Metropolitan Magazine on how to prepare locally harvested game and fish fit for cabin or palace. Charles Ruth, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources deer and wild turkey project supervisor, adds safety pointers, while Chef Mike Davis of Terra suggests complementary fare for wild game and fish. And Tom Campbell, a Lexington deer processor, stresses the importance of correct handling of harvested game.
Columbia Metropolitan Magazine (CMM): First, David, if I want to try cooking venison, where can I buy it?
David: You can’t. Although you can purchase some kinds of farm-raised game, it’s illegal to buy or sell wild game in South Carolina. Another option, if you want to try some wild game dishes, would be to attend one of the wild game dinners that more and more churches and other organizations are having. The outdoor sportsmen in the groups provide the game.
If hunting is something you’d like to try, but you don’t have anyone to teach you, you could get involved with the SCDNR Take One, Make One mentoring program (http://www.dnr.sc.gov/education/tomo/index.html) and get your hunting and fishing license. Otherwise, you’ll forever be dependent on the kindness of family and friends who hunt and fish.
CMM: When did you learn to hunt and fish?
David: I learned from my dad, mainly, and he taught me that if you shoot it, you eat it – no exceptions. So the safe handling, cleaning and preparation of game for the table was a big part of that early mentoring for me. Another childhood lesson: Squirrel is the great undiscovered delicacy of the game world. It’s a dark meat, very brown, and depending on the age of the squirrel, it can be really tender or really tough. Fried with grits and gravy is a classic preparation.
CMM: Is there a recipe you learned as a child that you still make?
David: My dad’s white catfish stew. Every summer, we’d go to the lake house of friends, and they’d always want my dad to make the catfish stew because his was the best. I’d watch him, looking over his shoulder, and he’d say things like, “Okay you gotta keep stirring it, and here’s when you raise the heat.” I was in college before I made it by myself.
CMM: What’s your favorite way to prepare game and fish?
David: I like venison a number of ways, but it’s awfully hard to beat a venison cube steak pan-fried just right, simmered in onion gravy and served with either mashed potatoes or grits and a green vegetable. I also like panfish, especially bream or crappie, fried in cornmeal breading and served with fresh home-cooked fries and a pickley cole slaw.
CMM: What’s your favorite breading for frying?
David: I use the Lee Brothers All-Purpose Fry Dredge recipe, which is mostly flour, with cornmeal for a little crunch, plus salt and pepper. You’ll find the recipe in the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. This cookbook actually has some good game recipes in it. You adjust the fry dredge depending on what you’re cooking. If I’m frying catfish, for instance, I’ll use more cornmeal, whereas for venison cube steak, I’ll use more flour.
CMM: Is there a difference between the flavor of game fish you catch yourself and fish you buy at the grocery store?
David: It’s not so much the difference between wild-harvested fish and commercially caught fish from the store as it is the difference between fresh and not-fresh fish. With fish, fresh is always better. The best fish you’ll ever eat is prepared on the riverbank right after it’s been caught. On the other hand, you don’t want to prepare and eat venison until after it’s been frozen, so you’re actually never going to eat fresh venison.
CMM: Why is it best to freeze venison before eating?
Charles Ruth: Venison needs to be in a deep freeze for a couple of weeks before use. This virtually eliminates a couple of parasites that are of concern. So if you start with frozen venison, you’ve already overcome most of the safety issues. The only other precaution is to make sure the meat reaches 160 degrees during cooking. Birds should reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
CMM: What’s the best way to minimize excessive “gamey” flavor when preference demands it?
David: An unpleasant flavor is almost always the result of poor handling when game was prepared for the freezer. The normal game flavor – the flavor that differentiates wild game from farm-raised meat – isn’t unpleasant at all. I don’t know why you’d want to minimize that. That said, there are ways you can do it. Marinating meat overnight in vinegar or salt water or both together will bring out blood, which you discard before cooking. This will help reduce any “gamey” taste that might be present in meat processed under less than ideal conditions.
Tom Campbell: This issue is one reason Campbell’s Custom Deer Processing exists. We have the equipment to process deer properly, in the best and safest possible way. When we process a deer, it won’t have an unpleasant game flavor — just the natural game flavor it should have.
Jim Edwards: There are lymphatic glands throughout the deer, but be especially aware of the lymph gland at the top of the hindquarter near the ball and socket joint where the back leg connects to the hip. It looks like a capsule, about 3/4 inch by 1/4 inch. Be sure to remove it as you prepare the meat, or you’ll ruin your dish.
CMM: David, what’s your best technique for Southern-frying fish?
David: I soak almost all fish I’m going to fry in a solution of milk and mustard overnight. This gives it a firm texture and a great taste. That’s a trick I learned a long time ago from a college friend, Brian Williams, a bass fisherman from Florence. Every year, Brian and Buddy, his brother, would host a big fish fry on July 4, when they’d fry up all the bass they’d caught during the year. It’s a great tip for frying fish covered with flour or batter, but I wouldn’t do it for fish I was going to grill.
CMM: Let’s have one of your special grill recipes.
David: Wrap some bacon around a four-pound venison roast and grill it a short time. Then slide it in the oven with root vegetables and some liquid, pot-roast style, for a long braise, 3 to 4 hours; longer is better. You get the grill marks, grill flavor and a nice brown crust on the outside, but the real cooking takes place in the oven. I first learned this technique from Dylan and Jean Kimple in Sterling, Alaska. Mr. Kimple would prepare a moose roast this way, and it was the best thing you ever had. All those fresh root vegetables — carrots, new potatoes and so on — were right out of their garden. After we’d consumed the roast, while everyone else was in the living room, Max Conrad, my friend, and I would stand in the kitchen and eat every scrap, including pieces of bread dipped in the leftover pan drippings, until the whole pan was clean. We believed firmly in not wasting a good thing.
CMM: What’s the most important thing to remember about cooking wild game?
David: Avoid overcooking. Generally speaking, when you’re cooking wild game — fish, too, but particularly wild game — it’s a lot leaner than meat from the grocery store. Your cooking temperature should be lower, cooking time shorter, and you might want to cover the meat. Also, if you’re using direct heat, you might want some sort of shield, like bacon, between the heat and your meat.
CMM: Chef Davis, what dishes do you like to put with your fish and game offerings?
Mike: Depends on the time of year. We serve what’s in season. My favorite game dish is grilled Manchester Farms quail with farro piccolo from Anson Mills. It comes with chorizo sausage, sweet potato and apple with bourbon jus. A Terra guest once told me he would be proud to have that as his last meal; it was one of the nicest compliments we’ve ever gotten! In April, we might do fish with asparagus, fava beans, a rice perlo and a little lemon butter. My best advice: Showcase what’s seasonal, what’s fresh, what’s coming out of the ground now. Go to the market first, buy what looks best and build your menu from that.
Fried Wild Turkey Strips
Sharon Pair’s husband, David, does the hunting, and she does most of the cooking. With this recipe, the secret’s in the soak.
Filet turkey breast into strips. Soak in 1 cup buttermilk with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce 4 hours or overnight. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon pepper. In cast-iron frying pan, heat peanut oil to 360 degrees. Drain turkey strips. Dredge strips in flour mixture; shake off excess. Add a few turkey strips at a time to hot oil, keeping the oil around 300 degrees. Cook until golden brown. Reheat oil to 360 degrees for each batch.
Sharon Pair, Columbia
Mustard-Fried Venison Chunks
Cut a generous amount of venison cube steak into bite-sized chunks. Coat venison (don’t marinade) in a mustard/milk mix (heavy on the mustard) and put meat through a flour/cornmeal/salt/pepper dredge. Fry chunks in hot oil. While meat is frying, lay out whole-wheat saltine crackers, each with a dollop of homemade pimiento cheese. Top each cracker with one chunk of venison and serve piping hot.
Tip: Chicken livers are a good substitute.
David Lucas, Columbia
Grilled Striper Fillets
For this easy recipe, you’ll want to use some kind of appliance with a finer mesh than for hamburgers to keep the fish from falling through to the bottom of the grill.
Mist the surfaces of the striper fillets with olive oil and coat them with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic. Let the fish sit for about 15 minutes on the counter and then cook them on the grill until flaky, about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them.
They’re great by themselves, with vegetables or in fish tacos.
David Lucas, Columbia
Crock Pot Venison Stew
Here’s a succulent game dish that’ll be ready and waiting for you when you get home after work.
In the morning, remove meat off bone of a hindquarter of venison. Separate the meat from the fascia (the silvery connective tissue surrounding the muscles) and discard the lymphatic glands. If desired, marinate for tenderizing or use meat tenderizer. Dredge meat in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Brown in skillet with bacon grease. Place browned meat, along with potatoes, onions and carrots, into slow cooker. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can water and 1 envelope Lipton onion soup. Set slow cooker on low. Stew will be ready about 6 p.m.
Jim Edwards, Columbia
Marinated Loin Medallions
Christopher, Joseph and Douglas Charlton of Lexington, brothers who were taught the love of hunting from Scott Charlton, their dad, have become skilled hunters and fishermen. The Charlton boys’ most popular grill recipe for their venison (as rated by enthusiastic and repeated guest demand) follows.
Marinate loin medallions in Allegro, available at local grocery stores, for 6 to 8 hours. Wrap bacon around them and secure each with a toothpick. Put them on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip medallions midway through cooking. Serve hot.
Chris Charlton, Lexington
Squirrel Perlo (Bog)
Chicken bog is a staple for large outdoor gatherings in South Carolina such as tailgates, and for good reason. Done right, it’s a delicious and cheap way to feed a large crowd. But adding some wild game to a basic bog recipe really takes it up a notch flavor-wise, and one of my favorite game meats to add is squirrel.
When I was a young boy, I used to attend an annual deer hunt hosted by Ladson “Laddie” Boone, a longtime SCDNR game warden and legendary outdoor cook. For lunch, Mr. Boone would usually serve a wild duck and chicken perlo, along with collard greens cooked with hot peppers – still one of the best meals I have ever had. Squirrel has a remarkably similar flavor to wild duck and is considerably more available for most hunters. It’s also an excellent beginner game for teaching young people to hunt, and, of course, a part of that training should always be instilling the ethic of eating any game that is harvested.
Some folks are a bit squeamish about eating squirrel (it’s a mystery to me why), but in this preparation, the squirrels are precooked and de-boned before going in the dish, which seems to help. If I told you it was duck or dark-meat turkey and you didn’t know any better, you’d believe me.
Dice 3 to 4 large onions and a bunch of celery, including some of the leaves.
Dice and fry a generous amount of salt-cured side meat or thick peppered bacon and some good-quality pork breakfast sausage. (Some folks like to use cured smoked sausage instead.) Cook each slowly and completely until nearly all the fat has been rendered away and the remaining meat is crispy. Set aside.
Gently simmer wild game (duck, quail, dove and squirrel are all excellent choices) in a pot with some celery, onion and spices. Remove and let cool; pick the meat from the bones and reserve the broth.
Cover the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil and add the vegetables. Sweat on low heat just until the onions are translucent.
Add the broth and enough additional water for the correct proportion of the rice you’ll be adding later. (It’s very important to get this amount right. Figure out ahead of time how much rice you will use and make sure to measure your liquids accordingly.)
Once the broth and vegetables are simmering, add the game and seasoning meats (bacon, cured side meat or sausage). Let simmer at least an hour.
With the “soup” at a rolling boil, add 1/4 stick of butter and the rice. In this preparation, I used one 16-ounce box of Uncle Ben’s converted rice and one 6-ounce package of wild rice.
Let boil for about five minutes. Give one good stir, put the lid on tight and turn heat to dead low. Let sit for approximately 20 minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Resist the urge to peek or stir – you will only lose steam and mess up the process. You can turn off the heat entirely for the last few minutes. Fluff and serve with light bread slices and a sharp, vinegary coleslaw or a pot of hot-pepper-infused collard greens.
David Lucas, Columbia
Malcolm Lucas’s White Catfish Stew
I learned this recipe for a chowder-style catfish stew from my dad. It’s a little different from most recipes for fish stew I’ve seen because the fish is fried beforehand. That’s the secret. The rest is just practice and patience.
Fried catfish, diced potatoes and onions in proportion to the amount of fish (Basically 1:1 fish to onions and 1:2 fish to potatoes. Five pounds of dressed fish, 3 to 4 pounds of Vidalia onions and 7 to 8 pounds of white potatoes is a good starting point for a fairly large pot and will feed a crowd of 25 or so. Extra is good because, as with most chowders, it’s even better reheated the next day.)
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 gallon whole milk
some bacon, cured ham chips or other pork meat flavoring
Fry catfish as you would normally to eat by themselves. I use a plain cornmeal breading with few other spices or additives, but commercial breading is okay. Just make sure it has plenty of cornmeal. I have used lard to fry the fish, but this can impart a heavy, greasy taste. A good-quality vegetable oil works just as well. If frying whole fish (recommended), let cool and pick the meat from the bones. This step can be done the night before and the meat refrigerated overnight.
Tip: Unless you plan to eat some of the fried fish immediately, it isn’t necessary to fry it quite as done as you normally would, as it will cook further in the stew.
Peel and dice potatoes and onions. Cover with water to a depth of about 1 inch in large pot and simmer. Add salt and generous amount of black pepper. This should simmer for several hours until potatoes have begun to break up and onion has totally disappeared. In the meantime, fry bacon or other meat and hard boil, peel and dice eggs. Add meat to pot as soon as meat is done.
When chowder/meat base appears almost as done as you would like it to be, add the fried catfish and the eggs. Slowly simmer until catfish is well incorporated and starting to come apart. The cornmeal from the fish should thicken the chowder considerably. Let it come to a slow boil but don’t overcook. Adjust the spices at this point, adding more pepper as needed. (It takes a lot.)
To finish the stew and give it a nice texture, turn the heat to dead low and slowly fold in some of the milk, adding a little bit at a time so it does not curdle or thin the chowder out too much. Go easy. If you add too much, your hungry guests will be stuck waiting for it to thicken back up. You can always add more, but you can’t take it back, once in. What you’re shooting for is a nice thick chowder with kind of a grainy texture and the fish well distributed throughout, the potatoes well broken up and only the larger chunks still together.
Serve with light bread. (It’s good to put a slice in the bowl and dip the stew over it.) Hush puppies are sometimes also served. Fry them in the leftover fish-frying grease. Extra pepper and hot sauce are the usual condiments. A sweet pickley (not vinegary) coleslaw and iced tea are also good accompaniments.
David Lucas, Columbia
Mock Steak Diane
One of the venison recipes my wife and I are fond of starts with a whole single back strap, silver skin removed. The back strap looks like a long stick of sausage and runs along either side of the deer’s backbone. It’s a thick cut with no bone.
Cut back strap into 12 to 15 medallions, 1 1/4-inch thick, 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Place medallions in prep pan and heavily coat all sides of medallions with lemon pepper. Pat lemon pepper into meat, almost encrusting it. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil with 2 tablespoons butter into frying pan and get pan hot. Sear medallions on both sides. Remove meat.
Make reduction sauce by mixing together in a bowl 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon plus of lemon juice. Add reduction sauce to bottom of hot frying pan and stir well to deglaze pan. If desired, add additional mustard, Worchestershire or lemon juice to taste. Return meat to pan and cook to desired doneness. (I normally cook mine medium rare, which takes no more than five minutes.) Cut and check one medallion to make sure meat is ready. Spoon sauce over meat to serve.
We like to serve the meat with buttered sugar-snap peas and warm pasta salad. Our pasta recipe: while pasta spirals are still warm, add finely minced onion, finely minced olives, finely minced pimiento, small amounts of mayonnaise and olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix together and serve.
Charles Ruth, Irmo
Grilled Dove Breasts
My idea of a perfect day is a good dove hunt crowned with a meal from the field. This appetizer, a family favorite, is worth crawling out of bed in the dark in order to capture the main ingredient for the coming feast.
12 dove breasts
onions, sliced into slivers
jalapeño peppers, sliced into slivers
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
3 tablespoons Texas Pete, to taste
12 bacon slices, cut in half
salt and pepper
Slice each breast on both sides of center bone, making a pocket (do not cut off bone). Combine soy sauce, salad dressing and Texas Pete. Marinate doves in the mixture for several hours. Drain. Put onion slivers, jalapeno slivers or both in each pocket. Wrap with bacon and secure with toothpick. Salt and pepper to taste. Grill until done.
David Pair, Lexington
Wild Rice and Doves
There is something really special about being in the field at daylight during Thanksgiving week as doves fly in to feed. When you hunt doves, you really have to love the whole experience, though, because you can buy prime rib cheaper than you can shoot a limit of doves. Here’s one of our family’s top dove recipes, along with what family and friends call Dave’s Famous Cole Slaw — an excellent accompaniment to dove.
10 to 12 dove breasts
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 8-ounce container fresh sliced mushrooms
dash of dried whole thyme
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon bacon grease
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1 8-ounce package long-grain and wild rice, cooked
Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside. Fillet dove meat from bone and cut each breast half in half again. Salt and pepper to taste. In frying pan, heat cooking oil and bacon grease together. Sauté doves with onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Drain. Combine cooked wild rice and dove/vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 can or more of soup to moisten mixture. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Options: Add 8 ounces of your favorite bulk pork sausage (hot or mild). Brown before adding. For Christmas, add dried cranberries. Serves 4.
David Pair, Lexington
Dave’s Famous Cole Slaw
1 head of cabbage
1 medium sweet onion
3 or more tablespoons Hellman’s Mayo
3 or more tablespoons apple cider vinegar
crushed red-pepper flakes
salt and pepper
dash of sugar
Chop cabbage and onion. Add all other ingredients to taste. Refrigerate.
David Pair, Lexington
About twice a month in season, Chris and Scott Charlton’s young sons and their friends hunt squirrel near the house, skin them and throw them on the grill. The boys have their own cooking secrets for grilling luscious squirrel meat, some of which they showcase in this original recipe for squirrel stew, created by Douglas Charlton and Aaron Burgess, his friend.
2 to 3 squirrels
honey teriyaki marinade, any brand
optional: fresh corn cut off the cob
1 diced onion
Add half a bottle of marinade to squirrel meat and refrigerate one hour. Pour other half of marinade into a pot. Cut up vegetables and add to pot with the marinade. Bring to boil. After meat has marinated, grill it, turning once, until it is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove meat from bones and cut into small chunks. When vegetables are tender, add meat and mix all together. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Feeds approximately 4 people
Note: Duck meat also works with this recipe.
Chris Charlton, Lexington
It’s So Good! Venison Cube Steak
1 1/2 pounds venison cube steak
1 bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
3 finely diced jalapeño peppers (remove seeds if desired; this
will create flavor without heat intensity)
1 package bacon
black pepper (if desired)
Marinate cube steak overnight in Zesty Italian Dressing. Sprinkle with Nature’s Seasoning and black pepper as desired. Spread cream cheese on tops of cube steak. Place jalapeños on top of cream cheese. Roll cube steaks into log shapes and wrap with bacon to keep shape. Place in aluminum foil, creating a tightly sealed envelope. Put in pan and place in preheated 350-degree oven. Cook until meat temperature reaches 160 degrees. Check temperature of meat with thermometer (just poke through the foil at the thickest point). Open foil and broil bacon to desired crispness. (It is done and just needs to be browned.) Remember to broil both sides.
Tom Campbell, Lexington
Cooking Game and Fish: Tips From Cooks
• For easier freezer storage, cut up your squirrel like a chicken. Jim Edwards, Columbia
• When cooking venison, onion-soup mix is a tasty base. I like to use it with whatever happens to be in my refrigerator and just be creative. Jim Edwards, Columbia
• For fish you’re going to fry, place fish and marinade in a zip-top bag and squeeze all the air out. The marinade will really permeate the fish, and the flavor is even better. Toss the marinade when you’re done. David Lucas, Columbia
• With wild game, which is naturally leaner than store-purchased meat, use a marinade or salt-water brine to keep the meat from drying out. This treatment will also help to minimize any overly intense “gamey” flavor, as will trimming fat off the meat. David Lucas, Columbia
• After you thaw your venison, if there’s still any silver skin (the paper-thin membrane on the outside of the muscle), trim it off, along with any gristle, just as you would with a domestic product. If you don’t, the meat will be too chewy when you cook it. Charles Ruth, Irmo
• Never eat deer meat that hasn’t first been frozen. I got toxoplasmosis about 10 years ago. I had eaten fresh deer meat — I knew better — and we had drastically undercooked it. Five people ate it, and five people got sick. It was not a lot of fun for about 10 days. Charles Ruth, Irmo
• Season your meat properly. This is what can really make or break a dish for a home cook. Other than a little salt and pepper, my favorite herb for quail is chives; for fish, parsley. Chef Mike Davis, West Columbia
• Treat game and fish simply and let it be itself. A lot of people try to put too much on a plate or in a recipe. Choosing three or four key ingredients that really sing and harmonize together is best. Chef Mike Davis, West Columbia
• You want to pass on those hunting and cooking skills, so let children help you prepare the game for cooking. My oldest grandson goes rabbit hunting with me. He’s only 7, but when we cook, he helps with the flour and shaking up the pieces for frying. Tom Campbell, Lexington
• Campbell’s Custom Deer Processing customers tell us our hot Italian sausage is great in spaghetti sauce. They just cook our sausage with tomatoes or tomato sauce. They say it makes the best-tasting spaghetti they’ve ever eaten. Tom Campbell, Lexington
• If your duck needs soaking or marinating, use a marinade high in acid such as lemon or lime juice, vinegar or buttermilk. Soak older birds in a solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar per quart of cold water for 4 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. SCDNR Website
• When roasting or broiling ducks, use a rack to keep them free of their own fat and do not baste with fat. SCDNR Website
For more recipes, visit Columbia Metropolitan online at www.columbiametro.com or purchase Wild Fare & Wise Words at the South Carolina Wildlife Shop in Columbia.
SPECIAL ONLINE RECIPES
Grilled Fish Fillet
Aluminum foil keeps all the juices intact in this recipe.
Place your fillet of fish on a piece of aluminum foil. Add a little lemon juice and olive oil and whatever herbs and spices you like. Roll fillet up in the foil and put it on the grill or in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s flaky and serve.
Note: If you’re using salmon or another really strong-flavored fish, soak it in milk in a zip-top bag for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Remove fish and pat dry with paper towels. Discard milk after soaking.
Chris Charlton, Lexington
Free-Range Sciurus (Squirrel) in Apricot Sauce
Using 3 to 4 squirrels per person, place the pieces of squirrel in a large zip-top bag for marinating. Pour in a bottle of teriyaki and 3/4 cup of Mighty Mango fruit smoothie. Turn the bag of squirrel every four hours. Marinate young squirrels for about 4 hours, older squirrels up to 24 hours. Put the squirrel and marinade into a skillet. For every 4 squirrels, add 1 1/2 tablespoons Orrington Farms chicken-broth base and seasoning, 3 shakes of Goya Adobo all-purpose seasoning, 1 medium onion (flat onion if you like sweet flavor; round onion if you prefer pungent), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup California sun-dried tomatoes with herbs and 1/3 cup Publix low-sugar apricot jam. Add two inches of water to the skillet and boil for 20 to 30 minutes or until the squirrel is cooked. Save the liquid to cook wild rice in.
Jim Edwards, Columbia
Turkey Stir-Fry Salad
part of one turkey breast, grilled and sliced
1/2 pound shrimp, quick-fried in sesame oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 to 2 carrots, julienned
1/2 onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
one red pepper, thinly sliced
sesame ginger dressing
sesame seeds and green onions for garnish (optional)
jasmine rice, cooked and seasoned
Blanch broccoli florets and carrots (lightly steam, then submerge in ice water) so vegetables are tender. Combine turkey, shrimp, broccoli, carrots, onions and pepper. Add ginger sesame dressing to taste. Serve cold over a bed of cooled jasmine rice with garnish.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources